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tv   News Nation  MSNBC  August 9, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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a.m. this morning. this was, we believe, a rockwell commander turbopop plane 690b. the plane apparently missed its approach and then, as you saw from those terrible pictures, crashed into two homes there very close to the airport. two children, believed inside at the time, are still missing, aged 1 and 13. the pilot believed to be dead. the fire department says it has very big concerns about those two children. arriving firefighters had their hands full. they went into what's called a fast attack mode and called for a mutual assistance and backup from neighboring departments. they say that this was a very hot fire and they fear the worst there. we don't yet know exactly who the pilot is. there is some indication of where this plane was, who owns the plane, but we're still trying to confirm that at the moment. and it is not at all clear what caused this accident. the faa is investigating. the ntsb will be called in to
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investigate as well. this is a twin-engine turboprop plane. it is not a commercial plane. just a terrible tragedy there close to new haven, connecticut. back to you. >> thanks, tom. the news nation is also following developing news coming from the white house president obama will hold his first presidential news conference in more than three months. the president is going to face some tough questions, a wide range of issues, both foreign and domestic. for the first time, he's expected to answer questions on his decision to cancel the upcoming e ing bilateral summit russian president vladimir putin. on the home front, lingering issues such as the stalled efforts on immigration reform will be on the forefront as well as the future of the landmark piece of legislation on health care. again, under threat by top republican lawmakers. but right now the president is enjoying a victory.
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he's signing a bill designed to keep student loan rates low. this will be one of the president's last public appearances before he leaves for a week-long summer vacation with his family in martha's vineyard. joining me live is kelly o'donnell. there's a lot on the plate when the reporters get the opportunity to ask the president questions. but is it true that the president is going to come out with some type of his own statement about where he wants to go with the nsa controversy and the transparency going on with its oversight. >> yes, thomas. we've been working our sources within the administration and on capitol hill. we have a bit of a picture of what the president plans to do. he can go on offense, anticipating, i'm sure, about the nsa leaks and the programs that the intelligence community has been undertaking to collect data and so forth. by going on offense, the president is expected to announce that he has plans to take steps to make reforms to some of those programs. with the intention of bringing
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greater transparency and to build more public confidence. these will be new steps, and he will lay them out in the specifics, but that's the overarching idea, how to create more confidence when there have been so many questions in the public about what these programs can do, the scope of them, the magnitude, and how to bring about more transparency. what could be declassified? we've seen steps toward that already with some of the details of these programs now becoming publicly available. so the president will lay that out, we expect, at the top of his news conference. then the questions begin. i'm sure he'll be pinned down on a number of issues, or at least prodded on a number of issues. we expect that because the nsa issue has been so dominant over the last couple of months, since the disclosures from edward snowden, that this is an area where the president wants to get out front before the questions come to him. >> kelly, when it comes to restoring the public trust, this could be a good start here domestically. let's talk about diplomatic trust and what's taking place with russia and the united
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states and this administration. we know, we had the news this week the president cancelling the bilateral meeting at the g-20 in st. petersburg with put putin. however, secretary kerry and chuck hagel will be meeting with russian counterparts to try to deal with the fractured relationship. so the president can probably expect to be peppered a lot on the perceived relationship he doesn't have with vladimir putin. >> it is a difficult relationship, one in which the president does need to keep the ties open because russia, for all of the things it does not do to assist the u.s., has been helpful in some ways. he may talk about their cooperation after the boston marathon bombings or some of their assistance with respect to what's been going on in afghanistan, being able to get supply lines through and that sort of thing. but on some very key, very public issues, there's been a really chilly reaction to what the president has been saying and what vladimir putin's steps
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have been that assigning of asylum for as much as a year for edward snowden has put a real spotlight on the relationship. it's easier at the ministerial level for those conversations to go on today with secretaries it hagel and kerry. on the presidential level, when you sort of pit barack obama and vlad mifr putin t gets even more tense. i'm sure he'll be asked about that. and with respect to these nsa programs, there are foreign policy implications, of course. other countries are paying attention to what gets leaked. other countries are also engaged in their own forms of surveillance, but it does have an influence on foreign policy. >> kelly o'donnell at the white house. thank you. our live coverage of the presidential news conference continues in about an hour. we're going to have the entire thing live for you at 3:00 p.m. eastern time. as we mentioned, the president is also expected to be asked about a new terror threat that has forced the evacuation of the u.s. consulate in pakistan.
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officials telling nbc news it is not connected to the threat that's closed 19 u.s. diplomatic posts across the muslim world. the state department is also warning americans not to travel to pakistan. joining me now is former white house counterterrorism official roger cressie. he's also an nbc chief investigative producer. bob, let me start with you about this. we heard from a while the u.s. military and intelligence officials, they're taking this threat seriously. however, this is also being deemed as routine. so how routine is it when we get the 20th embassy closing based on the heels of the earlier 19, it's the close of ramadan. for all this to be down played as routine i think would be naive. >> i think the key thing here is that what you have is rising tensions within pakistan. i was told this morning there
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was one connection between the 19 closings and today' evacuation. that is, both are perceived to be al qaeda and not taliban. i think what we see and the definition of routine is that when you have a specific threat, embassies take action. in this case, it's evacuation. that would not surprise me that there's a specific threat in pakistan. i mean, i wouldn't call it necessarily routine, but it's certainly something that takes place on regular occasions. >> while in yemen, while we understand the government structure is not one to be depended on when it comes to entrusting them with our security there, because when we have the embassies and when we're in other country, we depend on them for our security. in pakistan, as i understand it, they're going from lahore to islamabad. isn't that confusing? >> i think the key thing is the specific threat is specific to
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lahore. and the islamabad embassy is going to be a more secure facility than the lahore facility. my information today is that this is specific to lahore. that would lead to a variety of different moves, ending with the decision of whether to evacuate or not. they decided to evacuate. >> all right. roger,let me ask you, there are 20 diplomatic posts closed with the addition of lahore. is this the right way to go? especially as we consider the consequences of living in a post-benghazi world and knowing that the administration needs to listen to these threats, needs to put together and connect the dots so that we don't have a situation like benghazi. >> thomas, it's the height of irresponsibility if the administration doesn't take these steps because as bob said, the threat tempo in places like pakistan and in yemen as well
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are so high that on a daily basis, you are dealing with significant, credible threats to our consulates and our embassies. there's an obligation you have to take action. ultimately, it becomes a judgment call. it depends on the credibility of the sources, how significant the threat may be, and as bob talked about, how capable the local security forces are. we do rely on local security forces in every country. but certainly there are some countries where our embassies have been strengthened, have been fortified, in places like pakistan. the embassy in islamabad is much stronger, capable of withstanding some of the car bomb attacks you have seen in the past. so moving the consulate personnel from lahore to islamabad is a smart move. what everyone should remember is in these type of high-threat environments, dealing with terrorism threats on a daily basis is part of their job. >> with our intelligence in all of this, bob, comes the fact there is no expiration date when they feel there's a plausible threat being leveled.
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what's the timeline for how long these embassies will remain closed? >> there were indications earlier in the week there would be a reassessment tomorrow, saturday, as to how broad and also how long we would see these restrictions, we would see these embassy closings. now, the question becomes, tomorr tomorrow, if that is indeed the case, are all of them reopened, are some of them reopened, and if so, what are the criteria for reopening them? i think what you'll also see over the next couple of days is increasing skepticism about how long you can keep doing this when nftd we have been told repeatedly this week that there's no new information on specifici specificity. specificity in terms of the location, the timing, the type of facility, not necessarily an embassy or consulate, or even the nationality of the facility. remember, this is not something specifically directed to u.s.
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the word we have gotten is it's about western facilities. >> so it opens the gate to more possibilities of who could be included in that description. so it's not generally specific to us but most likely we would imagine. >> we would be the top target. >> roger, one thing we know the president is most likely going to be taking questions on is about his drone program. again, that press conference coming up here live at 3:00. the u.s. has been ramping up the drone strikes where yemeni officials say -- and they say 34 suspected al qaeda militants have been killed there in less than two weeks. with three strikes happening yesterday alone, we have this new pew poll to show. back in '07, it was only 51%. with the president conflicted -- and he's expressed how he feels about the drone program, that it's almost the worst of the best choices. could the drone strikes reverse
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the fuel we've seen for anti-american sentiment? >> no. in the big picture, i don't think so, thomas. there will always be individuals who are motivated by drone strikes to attempt to attack u.s. or western interests. that is occupational hazard of why you're using this best of all the worst options. if yo go back to the president's speech in may of this year, he laid out his rationale. this is not something that we want to do on a regular basis. what it does reflect in yemen is two things. one, we don't do these unilaterally in yemen. we're working with yemeni security officials. two, it's a reflection, as the president has said before. if the local government is uncapable or willing to go after suspected terrorist sites or targets, then it's our obligation to do so. i think the program, as he's articula articulated, is fine. thomas, if i can say on bengh i
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benghazi, i think we're all over rotating a little bit on tying what happened in benghazi to this current series of threats. certainly it's in the back of administration's mind, but i can tell you from having been on inside, you do it based on the quality and credibility of the intelligence and the potential threat it poses to american personnel. you're not worrying about whether or not capitol hill or what anybody else says. i can promise you the counterterrorism professionals working this aren't worrying about benghazi one single bit. >> great to see you gentlemen. thanks for your time. in other news today, flash flooding has killed another person in the nation's midsection. police say a man died this morning after he and his family got stuck in their car after it stalled in high waters in oklahoma city. he was swept away when he went for help. meantime, parts of 21 states are under a flood watch or warning right now. parts of southern kansas and missouri have already received ten inches of rain and could receive more throughout the weekending. in nashville, authorities made more than 200 water rescues yesterday.
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joining me now is the weather channel's paul goodlow. when are we expecting things to dry out? >> yeah, really not until next week in terms of seeing some drier weather. we're still watching the threat of heavy rain through this afternoon, this evening. as you mentioned, through this weekend as well. we have flood watches up for areas of oklahoma and missouri. oklahoma, trip it will-digit temperatures. north of that, we have some cooler air coming across the northern plains. stuck in the middle, areas of kansas, oklahoma, missouri, we have been in the battle zone here for showers and thunderstorms day after day after day. this will continue into the weekend. again, things will change, though, as we head towards next week. take a look at this. the past week, day after day, heavy rain battling across southern missouri here. now, a place really hard hit is waynesv waynesville, missouri. they've picked up 12 to 18 inches over the past six days. that's caused massive flooding in the area. what you don't want is more rain.
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unfortunately, we have more rain in the forecast. in fact, this is our flash flood guidance. that means one to two inches after rain, if it falls within three hours, that will cause a lot more flooding. the nature of these storms, summertime thunderstorms. they can dump one to two inches of rain in less than an hour. the radar right now, seeing some scattered showers. fortunately well to the north and east of waynesville. the atmosphere is still prime to give us more heavy rain through monday. we could see maybe one to three inches. some of that could fall not in 72 hours. maybe an hour or two and cause more flood concerns. but when will it end? next week a cold front kind of slices through the midwest, also pushes on to it the eastern seaboard. this is rare for the middle of august. what does that mean? our high temperatures are going to drop some 5 to 15 degrees below average. you got to remember, we're talking about the heat of the summer, august. we could be dealing with temperatures, even in the new york city area, only in the 70s. thomas? >> wow. that's a big difference. paul, thank you, sir. still ahead, shocking murder confession.
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a south florida man behind bars accused of killing his wife and then posting a grisly photo of her body on facebook. plus, the latest from texas where two lawyers assisting accused ft. hood shooter nadal hasan have not shown up in court. we'll explain why. as always u you can join our conversation on twitter. you can find us @newsnation. i'm the next american success story. working for a company where over seventy-five percent of store management started as hourly associates. there's opportunity here. i can use walmart's education benefits to get a degree, maybe work in it, or be an engineer, helping walmart conserve energy. even today, when our store does well, i earn quarterly bonuses. when people look at me, i hope they see someone working their way up. vo: opportunity, that's the real walmart.
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two of the defense attorneys ordered to help accused ft. hood shooter major nadal hasan are not in court today, one day of the judge refuse ed to let them leave the case altogether. they've been excused so they can
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prepare their appeal to the judge's decision. the attorneys claim hasan is defending himself in a way that will ensure he gets the death penalty. helping him do so would be unethical. meanwhile, more soldiers who witnessed the shooting took the stand today. captain brandy mason, who was wounded, told jurors she initially thought it was a training exercise. she said, quote, i continued to hear the gunshots and then something wet splashed across me. i looked at it, and i thought it was a simulated training round. paint balls. i found somewhere to hide. despite outrage leading up to the trial of the possibility hasan could cross-examine victims, he has so far not questioned any of them. joining me is the homeland security expert for the center for national policy and author of "the national security court system." professor, it's good to have you here. let's talk more about what we understand happening in that courtroom. so far, more than a dozen people have now taken the stand and given often emotional accounts
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of what happened that day. not a peep from hasan. he's not cross-examined and asked them a question. prosecutors have raised the possibility that this might be a tactic to win favor with the jurors by not contesting the facts of their case. how do you decipher this behavior? i mean, we all know the old adage of, you know, a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. how do you decipher this? >> thomas, it's good to be here. i think what he's doing right now, and you saw the defense counsel, who are stand-by counsel, actually seeked to have themselves removed because they're convinced he's going in that direction. i think that's his reason for not cross-examining or examining any witnesses. in this case, cross-examining the prosecution's witnesses. that's frustrating for those three defense counsel, two of whom are off developing their appeal now to the court of appeals of armed forces. >> let's talk more about those. they're the stand-by defense attorneys.
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they're not there today because they are prepping this appeal to the judge's order. explain how that process goes and how long it could take. >> sure. it would probably be relatively rapid just because the court of appeals recognizes the importance of this case. we do have -- there are civilian appellate judges who oversee the military justice system. it will be civilian judges looking at this. really, the law is pretty well settled, though, thomas. within military law and civilian law, when you have these stand-by attorneys in the background, they really have to go by what the pros say litigant wants. they can't ask themselves to be recused from the case simply because they have a difference in actually tactics. that's what the judge presiding over the case said. she said, just because you have different tactics and he might be putting on a terrible defense, that doesn't give you the right to remove yourself from this case. i think that's likely to be, you know -- the law is well settled. that's likely what's to be held
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by the court of appeals. however, because of the unique nature of this case and only one military execution since 1961, and this has got significant publicity and interest in this case from all levels of government, media, and people and the citizens of the united states, that this might actually be why the defense counselor is seeking relief. >> professor, thanks for making time for me. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> want to bring you now to the conversation. kathy was not wounded but present during that shooting. it's good to have you here. thank you. as we've been learning, one of the witnesses said, quote, he was firing at soldiers running out the front door. he was firing at soldiers running out the back door. he was fired at anyone who was moving and anyone who tried to get out of the building. what is your recollection of that day? would you describe how you recall it to be from what it was like to witness this? >> well, it was a who who show
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of epic proportions. i want to clarify that i was not in the building where the shooting occurred at the time of the shooting. i had just left that building. i was actually in the soldier's dome. i heard a civilian employee yelling, they're shooting, they're shooting. i tried to run out the door to get to that building to rescue anybody i could, but i could not get out the door because other soldiers who carrying in the dying and wounded. it was just a holocaust. it's something that's themblazod on my mind. i saw people running into that building to pull out as many wounded soldiers as they can. we engaged in life-saving measures. unfortunately, not all of them were successful. >> doctor, leading up to this trial, part of the outrage has been over the possibility that nadal hasan could cross-examine the very people he's been
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accused of shooting. so far, that hasn't happened. he has sat there quietly and letting this all take place in court. some people think there's a method to that type of legal madness. but in a way, are you relieved for the victims, that they don't have to put up with any of his questioning? >> i think from the victims' standpoint, that has to be a bit of a relief. reliving that and having the person that tried to kill you questioning you has got to just add to the horror that we carry with us already. >> because you lived through this, what's justice for nadal hasan in your mind? >> well, in my mind, i would like to see him receive the death penalty, but not being a legal expert and still being in the army, it's very difficult for me to answer some of these questions without finding myself in the defendant's chair. i think the death penalty, in my mind, would be the just outcome for the families, for the
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wounded, and for the survivors. >> doctor, thanks for making time for me. i do appreciate it. >> certainly. thank you. new developments in the intense man hunt for a suspected murderer and kidnapper in california. tops our look at stories around the news nation today. police say based on evidence recovered from james dimaggio's home, he may be armed with homemade explosives. he's suspected of kidnapping 16-year-old hanna anderson and possibly her 8-year-old brother ethan. now, before taking the kids, police say he murdered their mother in his house before then setting it on fire. an amber alert for the kids now extends to four states, canada, and mexico. police say a south florida man murdered his wife and let the world know by posting a picture of her dead body on his facebook page. 31-year-old derek medina allegedly confessed to the crime when he turned himself in yesterday. in his facebook message, he reportedly says, quote, my wife was punching me, and i'm not going to stand anymore with the abuse. i hope you understand me.
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and more than 2,000 people have now been evacuated from their houses and all because of this raging wildfire in southern california. the fire has burned 16,000 acres and is threatening more than 500 homes and buildings. there are no casualties to report, but one man suffered severe burns and five firefighters have been injured. the fire is 25% contained. still ahead, 2016, presidential politics heating up in the all-important state of iowa. one of the main events today aimed at getting hillary clinton elected to the white house, we bring you a live report. plus, anthony weiner's bizarre campaign event in harlem. >> anything else i can do for itb? you want to do the weather or something? >> if you can do the weather. >> where is this from? is this in england? >> you can do the weather here in new york, if you'd like. >> no, no. i'll do yours instead. it's going to be rainy, cloudy, and gray. >> from mocking reporters to getting doors shut in his face, it's just one of the things we thought you should know. is like hammering.
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all right. you can call it another sign that the race for the white house is heating up earlier than ever. a push to get a woman on the ballot was front and center in iowa today. the group emily's list, known for backing democratic women running for office, hosted its madam president forum in des moines. now missouri senator claire mccaskill was one of the featured speakers there. while she may not have been there in the flesh, the named hillary clinton was certainly in the back of everybody's mind. >> everywhere i go, people say to me, stop me, people i don't even know say, is she going to run, is she going to run? there's really genuine excitement about this woman becoming president of the united states. i am -- i think it's something -- i hope that she can't turn away from. >> now, whether or not the former secretary chooses to run, hers isn't the only name on the short list of possible female candidates. nbc's casey hunt is in des
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moines and was inside the forum there, taking advantage of hearing what they had to say about who else is a potential candidate. so casey, what other names, as we say hillary clinton seems to have the most weight behind the name, but who else came up? >> reporter: well, you're right. hillary was absolutely at the top of the list here. senator mccaskill has already come out, as you just saw, to support her. there's a long list of other women they're pushing here. senator kristen gillebrand from new york is one. even people like the attorney general of california is somebody the people have mentioned as a potential person who could step up. you have to remember that 2016 is what we're looking at right now, but this event and emily's list really work hard to try to build a bench for future presidential races. >> kasie, explain to all of us, you know, political junkies, we love this stuff.
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from the perspective inside that room -- and we heard senator mccaskill talk about being asked about whether or not hillary was going to run or not. is there a worry from these women from the forum in and of itself talking about hillary clinton that there's this possibility there could be early onset fatigue and that could work against the secretary when she decides whether or not to declare an ambition to be president. >> reporter: i mean, i think as far as the timing of hillary's announcement goes, i mean, this ready for hillary pac is something that's looking at raising the kind of money that would be needed to launch a presidential run in a super pac age. that's something they're really concerned about. mccaskill addressed that at the top of the forum. they're trying to flip the argument around and say, you know, this is trying to make it about the grass roots. in all reality, we've entered a point where you can't just start from scratch when others around you are raising the kind of
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money that it's going to take to be competitive and what's going to be a really expensive race. >> ckasie, thank you. all right. a live look at the white house where in just about 30 minutes from now, president obama is going to hold his first news conference since april. we're going to take you there and cover that. al qaeda, russia, and the immigration battle are just some of the subjects he's expected to address. first, there's a lot going on today. here are just some of the things we thought you should know. senator mitch mcconnell's campaign is doing some major damage control. they post pd light-hearted picture to the campaign's facebook page yesterday showing the minority leader and his cam page manager holding his nose. the message reads, like if you agree nothing smells worse than obama care. they posted the picture after benton was caught in a reported phone conversation saying, quote, between you and me, i'm sort of holding my nose for two years. what we're doing here is going
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to be a big benefit to rand in '16. so some very awkward moments when new york city mayoral candidate anthony weiner went canvassing in a harlem apartment building yesterday. on camera, some residents shut doors in his face. later, he had this exchange with a reporter from a british media outlet. >> is it ambition? is it for the power? >> hard to take you seriously. no, it has to do with wanting to be mayor of the city of new york. anything else i can do for itb? you want to do the will or something? >> if you can do the weather. >> this is in england? >> you can do the weather here in new york if you like. >> no, no. i'll do yours instead. it'll be rainy, cloudy and gray. so do what you can, guys. try to keep your head up. keep a stiff -- what is it? stiff upper lip. as we've been following the breaking news on that amber alert out of california, this is the sheriff in san diego talking about hanna anderson and her brother ethan. let's listen. >> -- contacted local law
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enforcement and led to a subsequent search for that vehicle in the area. this morning about 8:00, the blue nissan versa was discovered covered in brush. the license plates had been removed. but local law enforcement in the area were able to confirm through the vin number that the vehicle did belong to dimaggio. local law enforcement in the area, the valley county and ada county sheriffs department, the idaho state police, the fbi, the u.s. marshals service, customs and border protection have all joined in the search for the missing hanna and james dimaggio. it is a wilderness area and extremely difficult terrain to navigate. the campers or the hikers that came across them on wednesday
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were on horse back and didn't return back until late wednesday night. we have been in contact -- i've been in contact personally with the valley county sheriff, patty bowlen, this morning. they're coordinating the investigation. we'll be working with all the resources brought to bear on the search. again, it is a very difficult terrain. we have a lot of resources that we're bringing. we're sending some of our investigators from san diego up there to assist with the search. the car will be examined by bomb and arson technicians in idaho so they can render that vehicle safe. then obviously further forensic examination will be done. i'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. >> did these witnesses give you
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any indication of the condition of the 16-year-old girl? >> from the account we received, they both appeared to be in good health. >> was she being held against her will? >> it was unable for us to determine from the witness account whether she was being held against her will. >> what were they doing? >> they were camping up in that area. they were spotted twice coming into -- when they were coming into the area and when they left. they had backpacks on. they spotted a tent. so they were obviously camping in that area. >> given the terrain, how far do you think they could have gone? >> well, the car was located about six miles from cascade, idaho. then the -- where they were spotted -- i want to say, how many miles was it? about five or six miles from where the car was discovered is where they were spotted with
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their backpacks and the tent. >> did they have any communication? >> they had brief conversation with the two. >> what was the nature of that conversation? >> i couldn't really pass that on to you. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> vehicles are not really -- my understanding, they're not very practical in this wilderness terrain they've been located in. so it's either on horse back or on foot. hiking or on horse back. >> were these people suspicious prior to getting back and learning about this, or did they feel there was any -- >> yeah, they did seem to think the two of them were out of place in that area with the light camping equipment they had. it is very rugged terrain. you know, the people on horse back, the four individuals were out in that area. they thought it was unique they
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ran across them there. when they came back, they made some inquiry and found out about the amber alert and the information we have on dimaggio. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> the search will consist of aerial resources, people on horseback, experienced -- obviously, deputy sheriffs and other law enforcement personnel from that area that know the terrain and all the resources of the federal, state, and local government are being brought to bear on this, so we can hopefully bring, you know, hanna back safely to her family here in san diego. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> oh, yeah. i'm very confident. i think we should all be optimistic that she appeared to be in somewhat good health and was alive on wednesday and we hope that law enforcement will find them up in the mountains there and return them safely.
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>> can you tell us exactly what time on wednesday they were -- >> we've been listening to sheriff bill gore in san diego there talk about the case of hanna anderson and her brother ethan, who were suspected to have been kidnapped by the man you see on your left there, james dimaggio. there have been reports from campers and hikers on horseback that hanna and james were spotted together with light camping gear about six miles from cascade, idaho. that's also an area where they found the blue nissan that dimaggio was reported to be driving when he took the children. interesting, we did not hear any talk of ethan being spotted by these campers. that would be hanna's younger brother. the body of the mom was discovered in dimaggio's house and also the charred body of a child was discovered. however, they have not identified whether or not that child is ethan or not. these eyewitnesses on wednesday say that they had seen hanna
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anderson alive with james dimaggio with backpack, tents, and light camping gear there in idaho. we'll bring you more as soon as we get it right here. just a reminder, we have the press conference from the president coming up and a live look at the east room. that's going to take place in less than 30 minutes from now, with where president obama will hold his first news conference since april 30th. our news nation political panel joibs us next with more on what to expect. d distribution systems," "and one of the most efficient trucking networks," "with safe, experienced drivers." "we work directly with manufacturers," "eliminating costly markups," "and buy directly from local farmers in every region of the country." "when you see our low prices, remember the wheels turning behind the scenes, delivering for millions of americans, everyday. "dedication: that's the real walmart"
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that he wants to make about transparency. >> well, that's the big news he's going to make at the top. as you know, the president usually has an opening statement on some issue. in this case, it's going to be announcing a set of reforms that are intended, as far as the administration is going to argue, to restore confidence in these nsa surveillance programs. announce some potential transparency -- new transparency options that they're going to be putting into place. some of the details are still a little murky. you know, will it need any congressional approval? all of this, as you know, thomas, there's a bipartisan, a growing bipartisan opposition in the house and the senate on this issue, on the idea that the nsa may be overstepping its bounds, maybe going too far in its sweep of surveillance data. if you think about everything that's been going on, it's fascinating that's how the president is going to use his opening statement because here it is this issue. it is edward snowden releasing all of this information, which
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of course instigated this debate, started this conversation that's taking place very heatedly here in washington, d.c. of course, it's also responsible for nixing a summit with russia. when you really think about the domino effect this entire edward snowden situation has had, it's quite remarkable. essentially, about half this press is going to be about things that sort of started with the edward snowden release of this information. >> it's a large threat that has unraveled so many different things, chuck. when you talk about the president and the nsa, obviously that's to our domestic audience, to rebuild the public trust about what we're doing here in the u.s. when we think about the diplomatic trust that's been breached, that is the big onus that needs to be repaired. it doesn't seem like before the g-20 that's really going to happen. >> well, not with the russians. it's funny you bring occuup the
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diplomatics. these nsa programs are extremely unpopular in europe, too. it's caused tension between some of the united states' closest allies. it goes beyond russia. obviously, this is the near-term issue we expect to hear the president sort of justify his reasoning of not doing this -- of deciding to skip this summit. it is fascinating now. he's announcing a whole bunch of reforms based on documents that were released by edward snowden. they're announcing all of these new reforms. okay. now we've canceled a summit. at some point over russia's refusal to turn edward snowden over, but it's clear they're also sort of sheepish in deciding they do need a new policy. so was it really -- then should they be cancelling summits over this issue? i think that's going to be another question the president is going to have to deal with. >> have you heard anything about the lower-level meetings taking
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place between secretary kerry and hagel and their russian counterparts today and if that's helping to mend any of the fi fissures? >> well, they are supposedly -- and the issue, of course, is putin and the president. they have no relationship. to say that is an understatement. the president did have a personal relationship. he helped get russia into the wto. that's how personal relationships work. it's clear that the issue here is personal. >> all right, chuck. we're going to let you get ready. the president coming out in roughly ten minutes. thank you, sir. i want to bring in our panel. joining me now is raul reyes. thanks for your patience, gang.
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we're roughly about ten minutes away. so many front-burner issues. it's hard to pick where we want to start with all of this. let's go in with the expectation of what the president is going to say about the nsa. josh, let me start with you on this. the president wants to come out and talk about the moves that his administration wants to make in reference to more transparency when it comes to how the nsa is operating. what is your expectation of how the president can try to restore that public trust with this announcement? >> well, what i would wonder, thomas, is really whether transparency is going to be enough. part of the objection that some people have, including some people on capitol hill that goes up to people like jim sensenbrenner of wisconsin, is that this program is going too far. that rummaging into the phone calls of every american, in the past anyway, pulling the e-mail addresses of perhaps almost every e-mail sent within the united states is just gathering
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too much information. whether the government's transparent about it or not. i don't think the critics are going to be satisfied when the notion of, you know, yet another oversight board layered on top of two or three other boards that we're already supposed to be watching and either weren't or didn't object to it. >> all right. so the we all want to sometimes put aside is we're in the business of stealing secrets. that's what we do to get the leg up on everybody else so we can stay ahead of everybody. so now that we know what we're all trying to do -- and chuck pointed out how europe is kicking back and other places don't like this. i want to the put this out there. in "the wall street journal," the cia second in command said i don't remember a time where there have been so many national security issues on the front burner as today. he goes on to say syria poses the greatest threat to u.s. national security. snowden is a major threat in all this and how russia is dealing with syria. what do you think the president
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is going to say when he's asked questions directly about that? >> well, i think -- >> sorry, sheera, go ahead. >> sure. i think the president -- first of all, i'll be watching to see what he says about russia. i think that's probably one of the top issues and how hard of a a statement he's going to make against putin. that has a lot to do with the edward snowden issue. josh raises a great point. maybe transparency won't be enough. how detailed is the plan he's going to present during this press conference? i would bet probably not very detailed at all. and will congress be satisfied by what they hear from him? i absolutely doubt it. >> we have all these cold war questions going on and secret spy stuff. raul, we have great domestic issues to talk about here. there's a dysfunction going on in washington. we have the latest nbc news wall street journal poll finding that only 45% of americans approve of the job the president is doing. that's the lowest in polling since august of 2011 when the president was embroiled in the
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stand-off over the debt ceiling. when everybody gets back from their little respite here in august and they get back to washington, d.c., we've got big budget battles looming. how do you think the president's going to try to address that today and the fact that they haven't been getting along so far, what's going to make any difference coming up in a couple weeks? >> i'm not sure he's going to step into those questions right now. he's about to leave for his vacation. this is the time of year where outside of washington, outside of the political class, not that many people want to really dive down deep into questions of sequestration and whether we're going to shut down the government over obama care. i think he might sidestep those issues for now. but he does know -- >> really? you think he's going to dodge that, weave left and right? >> yes. and what i'm curious to see on the immigration reform issue, right now it's sort of stalled with the house republicans. i'm very curious to see whether he is asked what his opinion is, whether these -- the so-called dream nine, these undocumented young people who came back to the u.s. and applied for asylum,
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i'm curious to see if he's asked for his position on that. also, very curious to see if anyone, particularly among the members of spanish language media, ask him if he would be willing to take some executive action on immigration reform if the house does not cooperate in the near future. >> are you disappointed? the last time when we had a press conference from the president, it was april 30th, three months ago. he seemed strong about where we were going with immigration reform, seemed confident. here we are with nothing. >> yeah, well, the political will is there. certainly the gop among their leadership, it's something they want. we're all aware that latino voters generally overwhelmingly support this. it's just that speaker boehner cannot corral those members of his own conference. that's the problem. but one critical thing that we may see during this august recess is the town halls in
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which we might see a more genuine public opinion. i think some law makers are trying to test the waters whether opposition to immigration reform is rising or falling. that may be a key determinant in the future. >> do you agree with raul that the president is going to be able to dodge and weave questions about the budget, sequestration? we have the government shutdown looming of october 1st. that also happens to coincide with open enrollment for obama care. so october 1st is a big date. >> yeah, i could see a situation where after 10 to 15 minutes of questions, if he's tired of talking and feels it like he's spent on a lot of these national security and foreign policy issues, he might use it as an opportunity to push blame on congressional republicans and attack them, frankly, for things like threatening shut downs over the government or the irs and obama care deadlines coming up. a couple other issues as well.
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one thing i do disagree with my fellow panelists about is immigration. i don't think the president wants to talk about immigration much at all. it might be a passing question if someone asks him about it. he'll probably encourage congress and house republicans to pass immigration reform legislation. on the whole, that has not been a strategy all along. he wants to stay out of immigration so it has a better chance of passing among house republicans. >> josh, when it comes to the 20th embassy in lahore, pakistan, being closed to today, adding to the list of 19, because of the so-called chatter taking place, how do you think the president's going to respond to questions being asked about is this the way that we're going to operate now in a post-benghazi world? i know we had a counterterrorism expert on earlier saying they're not taking that into account. but it would be naive to think that the administration does not take into account credible threats and making sure that we
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don't end up with another benghazi. >> right. i mean, i think it's almost certain the president's going to get a question about whether closing all these embassies makes the u.s. look weak and whether he was reluctant to go along with that kind of a decision. he'll probably also get a question as part of a whole set of issues about what the current state is of al qaeda. obviously, they're not quite as decimated as a lot of americans maybe thought going into the last election. >> all right, gang. i want to say thanks to all three of you. again, the president's press conference coming up just minutes from now. that's going to do it for this edition of "news nation." i'm thomas roberts. "the cycle" is going to pick up coverage of the news conference right now. i hand it over happily to you.
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good friday afternoon to you. right now we are waiting on the president a fourth solo news conference of the year. let's show you the white house east room where reporters, including our very own chuck todd, are gathered right now waiting for the president. we expect the president to field questions about any and everything. the global terror threat, edward snowden, the economy, the looming government shutdown, and of course that meeting that will not happen with vladimir putin. he's also expected to announce new measures to increase transparency with regard to government surveillance programs. so that's a big headline we're expecting to come out of this as we wait for the president. nbc's kelly o'donnell is live on the north lawn standing by for us. we expect the president to be
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answering a lot of important questions. nsa, putin, snowden, of course are top of mind for most reporters. what do you think we're going to hear from the president today? >> reporter: well, the president will start off talking about the nsa and the government surveillance programs. he's going to make some significant announcements about making some things declassified with respect to those programs that really came to our knowledge because of edward snowden, but the administration will say it's not purely because of edward snowden. due to the changes in technology and concerns that have been raised by civil libertarians about the scope and the magnitude of what the intelligence community has been able to collect about american citizens and about any contacts with potential suspects abroad. so expect the president to begin with a real discussion of things he'd like to see done and steps he would like to take with congress to make reforms to some of those programs. the intent of that would be to give more transparency, also to put perhaps some constraints on
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these programs if they decide there, in fact, ways where the programs need to be tightened up. he'll begin with news of his own and policy to be made. then, of course, he'll take questions. i certainly hope he'll take a lot of questions because there are so many issues that are on people's minds today. and it is so infrequent that you get the president in such a wide-ranging set of questions and opportunities for reporters to talk to him. so expect news at the top and we hope a lot of news to be made during the course of the q & a. >> kelly, let me ask you, it sounds like the president, if he does move in that direction on surveillance as you're discussing, he can do things like declassify information, release legal opinions. we've seen some of that before. that would all be coming right out of the white house. how much of this also could involve congress? as you know and have been reporting, there was a pretty close vote to try to rein in some of these programs recently. >> reporter: well, the president has spent time meeting one on one with members of congress and in small groups talking abo


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